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13 days ago - 8/8/2019

Best goal of the season, copyright by Carlos Ruesga

Sporting CP centre back Carlos Ruesga (34) has scored the best goal of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2018/19. An incredible effort from nine meters, with a draw and no time left on the scoreboard of the match against Chekhovski Medvedi.

The goal, which gave a 23:22 win and two important points to Sporting, has been chosen ‘best goal’ of the season thanks to the votes of the fans on social media.

“In this kind of situations it is very difficult to get success because there is no space,” Ruesga says. “I tried to find some space next to the defence because it was obviously I couldn’t do anything over the Russian wall.”

He looked for space, and he found it.

“It was amazing and it was even more special for the moment and for the two points,” he says. “It was a goal from all the team. I remember we had lot of difficulties during that match and we were losing. We kept fighting, we equalised and we got an opportunity to win in the last second of the match.”

For Ruesga, world champion with Spain in 2013, it is very special that his goal has been picked by the fans as the best one from last season.

“The fans are the most important thing in our sports,” he says. “I like a handball spectacle, and I like it when fans give value to the spectacle. I’m really thankful for all the support.”

Not reproducible for most humans

While Ruesga’s amazing goal is not reproducible for most humans, it was no coincidence or luck that he found the net this way. It wasn’t the first goal like this, and it won’t be the last.

After all, he had done it before, for example in 2012, when he scored in a similar way for Ademar Léon against THW Kiel.

“I am small and it’s a shot I’ve been practicing since I was young,” Ruesga says.

Back at his best level in Portugal

Ruesga’s career suffered a setback because of a knee injury. In 2015 he moved from Veszprém to Barça, where he played for the first and second team.

After one year, he signed for Portuguese side Sporting CP, where he got back to his best level.

“I’ve reached my maturity and everything flows naturally. I’m really fine here, where the handball has grown during last years,” Ruesga says.

The new season is coming for Sporting with a new coach - Frenchman Thierry Anti, who led HBC Nantes to the VELUX EHF Champions Leagaue Final in 2017/18.

“He is a coach with a lot of experience, who knows international handball very well and who will contribute with lot of things, but we need a little more time to adapt to the new system,” Ruesga says.

"We want to be the kings of Portugal again"

But the objectives for Sporting in the new season are clear.

“We want to be the winners of the national league again, be the kings of Portugal,” he says, after rivals FC Porto Sofarma won the domestic title last year.

On European level, Sporting are eyeing a repeat of last season, when the team had its best-ever showing by reaching the Last 16, where Ruesga’s former club, Veszprém, proved too strong.

“We must learn from last season, be focused and play at the same level in the Champions League and the domestic competitions,” he says. “We shouldn’t forget about the Portuguese competitions like we did last year, when we were really focused on and dreaming about the Champions League.”

Author: Laia Coll / ew